I am delighted to report the unveiling of a new initiative at Jewish Values Online – The Jewish Values Online Panel Discussion Video Series!
We have added something new (at least, new to us) to enhance JVO, and to add to what we offer those who visit our website, http://www.jewishvaluesonline.org/.
On the home page today you will see that there is a video right in the middle of the page. Three of our panelist-scholar rabbis were asked to speak on a particular topic. In this case, Rabbis Louis Reiser (R), Maury Kelman (O), and Jason Miller (C) participated, moderated by Sara Eisen, a well-known blogger in the Jewish world (a regular on Jewlicious – http://www.jewlicious.com/). They addressed issues concerning the death of Osama Bin Laden; the appropriate Jewish responses to how it came about, and how as Jews people should react, in terms of Jewish values, ethics, morals and derekh eretz (proper behavior). This video is in addition to the answers posted to the questions that were asked; two questions came up which can be found on JVO here http://www.jewishvaluesonline.org/question.php?id=414&cprg=%2Fsearch.php%3Fsearchtxt%3Dosama%26what%3DA and here http://www.jewishvaluesonline.org/question.php?id=404&cprg=%2Fsearch.php%3Fsearchtxt%3Dosama%26what%3DA.
Our thought is to add a series of these videos on various topics with different rabbis (and perhaps a variety of moderators). As we produce more, we will place them on a page on our site for access whenever visitors wish to view them (In the near future, there should be a clickable link on the home page that will allow you to jump to the JVO panel discussion video series list). We see this not as a replacement, but rather as an addition to the written responses that are provided, a way to bring out more information on Jewish values and ethics, in a different format.
The idea behind the initiative is that the panelists and moderator know the topic in advance; but the conversation is not scripted. Using the more interactive video conference format, and adding the responses of the panelists “live” in responding to other people, allows for the question to be addressed in a more conversational, natural, and organic fashion, within the format of a moderated conversation, as you see from the video posted today.
Of course, nothing is quite perfect, and this is true here as well. Although the technology available to us is good and works, it is still far from perfect. Depending on factors of bandwidth, connection speed, internet traffic, line quality, and many other factors that are out of our control, through trial and error we have learned that the videos we make necessarily will contain some flaws. And while we know that the results of using VOIP video conferencing software to ‘bring together’ panelists from far-flung locations cannot match the quality of a recording made by bringing the panelists together in a sound proofed studio, hooking each of them up to microphones they wear, and using television cameras to record the images; we have concluded that given the resources we have and the focus of our mission to bring Jewish values to light, the costs and effort involved in creating those higher quality videos made possible by using such equipment and techniques, is not in the realm of possibility for JVO. Consequently, there will be some noticeable imperfections, flaws, and glitches in our videos; but we think that what is added by having them on the website is far greater than any minor annoyances that may exist within them, and that they are usable and ‘good enough’ as is. Our focus is on the content; so long as that is of a high caliber, slightly lesser production values are not worth fretting over.
Of course, we would appreciate your comments and feedback, as always. Feel free to leave comments to this blog post, on the page of any question on the website, or after any video on the video series page (when that is up). And if you want to write more directly or privately, you are welcome to contact us by email at Admin@jewishvaluesonline.org.
All of us at Jewish Values Online hope that you find what we are offering to be valuable and useful to you in bringing Jewish values to light in your life.
Rabbi Joe Blair, for JVO